The Christmas and New Year holiday period as well as providing a well-earned opportunity to spend time with family and friends also enables us to take stock of where we are and to give some free thought to what will be different after the water-shed of the New Year.
Moreover it is a time to subliminally strategize about what is going to be different this year. What is the biggest source of pain in your business currently and what are you going to do about it?
Is it staff development and training? Business is all about people; attracting the best, retaining them and developing them into high performers. What is the plan for succession and future proofing the business?
Cash and profit are key business indicators, but it is no good being profitable on paper without the profit being cash backed. The elimination or significant reduction of over-due cash is one of the single biggest improvements a business can make. Cash connects to every part of a business, if it is coming in late is this an indicator that projects aren’t being delivered properly – what is the underlying cause?
Defects and reworking result in abortive costs that come straight off the bottom line – improving the quality of delivery and standards will not only improve business profitability and cash-flow it will engender a positive attitude in staff and suppliers towards the work which is being produced.
What is it that differentiates your business from its competitors? Is it quality, good and bad? Its people? The customer experience? How are you going to change the way in which your business is perceived by its customers and suppliers so that it is a partner of choice?
It is easy to focus on negative issues – perhaps that is human nature. Eliminating negative outcomes and poor results will lift business results and improve its performance overall, self-evidently. But we should also spend time thinking about what when well last year, what was wholly successful? If we can replicate those good outcomes and results then that will improve business performance immeasurably and potentially much more quickly that focusing on taking minute corrective steps.
So there then is the challenge – what will be different this time next year from now? Delivery? Cash? Profitability? Succession? Skills? Recruitment?
Amazing what a little time off can do!